Millennial Sara Theophilus likes to travel. In the past year alone she has visited Machu Picchu and taken a Day of the Dead tour in Mexico. She already has a trip to China planned for 2019. Her home, however, is the Santa Fe Springs Kloeckner Metals Branch.
“To me, it feels like a family,” Sara said. “There are some jobs that you dread going to in the morning. You think, ‘Ugh, another day,’ but that is not what I feel here. It is because I enjoy the people I work with.”
Sara found her way to Kloeckner because she wanted to get out of retail. She knew someone who worked at the Santa Fe Springs Branch and he recommended that she apply. Sara started out as a sales assistant and within eight months she was doing inventory control and accounts payable.
“Basically, anything that they needed me to do, I would do,” Sara said. “I learned it all.”
Right from the beginning, Sara got to know her coworkers really well. Socializing is encouraged at the office. There are group outings, and coworkers will meet up for dinner and hang out outside of work. Management encourages a positive work/life balance; when co-workers become your friends, it makes for a pleasant work atmosphere. Sara thinks this makes a big difference.
“We really support each other,” Sara said. “If someone is out, we wonder if they are okay. We care about each other. I think that sets us apart.”
As a millennial, Sara was initially surprised to see that Kloeckner SFS wasn’t your stereotypical office like one might expect in a seasoned industry. Management at Kloeckner helps employees to keep growing and taking steps forward. There are programs geared toward this, such as the ELP & the KCI Digital Experience that Sara’s co-worker (and fellow millennial) J. Paul participated in. More than anything, though, she thinks that Kloeckner’s leading role in digitalization with tools such as Part Manager makes it a very attractive place for Millennials.
“When I first started I thought it would be faxing and an antiquated way of doing business, but that is not what Kloeckner is,” Sara said. “It is digital. It is youth and experience, green and seasoned individuals going out and making sales. It is being innovative and finding new ways to grow.”
Sara also thinks that millennials are a good fit at Kloeckner. Millennials are persistent, innovative, team-players. Millennials also tend to be very adaptable, a skill which is extremely useful in a steel industry that is constantly changing.
“Everything changes quite frequently,” Sara said. “We don’t know from quarter to quarter what it is going to be like, and I think having that ability to adapt, think quickly, and act fast is very beneficial in the steel industry.”
The Kloeckner Cares initiative is another way Kloeckner encourages a family-like atmosphere at the office, one that is very important to Sara. She believes it has brought her coworkers closer together and helped reinforce their bonds. Because employees are able to choose which charities they would like to pursue, they can participate in ones that are meaningful to them, specifically. When the Santa Fe Springs Branch participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life this past fall it meant a lot to Sara.
“My Grandma had been battling cancer for the past year,” Sara said. “She had surgery in October and is doing well now, but it was something where everybody here rallied around the Relay For Life because they knew it was important to me.”
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